More than five years after Uber Technologies Inc. tried to launch an affordable helicopter service in Sao Paulo, South America’s most populous city, a rival appealing to the wealthy has begun service this week.
(Bloomberg) — More than five years after Uber Technologies Inc. tried to launch an affordable helicopter service in Sao Paulo, South America’s most populous city, a rival appealing to the wealthy has begun service this week.
Revo, an urban mobility company, kicked off its “soft launch” of a ride-hailing service to whisk travelers between Sao Paulo’s financial district and the international airport of Guarulhos. Revo is controlled by Portugal’s OHI, which in turn is owned by UK private equity firm Stirling Square Capital Partners.
The trip, which is about 35 kilometers (22 miles), takes less than 10 minutes and costs 3,500 reais ($720) per seat. A similar trip in a taxi during rush hour could take as long as two hours and cost about 200 reais. The company is also offering rides to Fazenda Boa Vista, a gated community for the super-rich about 100 kilometers west of the city, for 5,000 reais a seat.
Read More: A Gated Community for the Super Rich Grows Outside Sao Paulo
“Unlike other projects in the past, we’re focusing on the high-income segment and offering a premium service with a concierge that’s door-to-door,” Revo Chief Executive Officer Joao Welsh said in an interview. “The demand has already been above our expectations.”
With a population of almost 22 million people, Sao Paulo is already one of the busiest in terms of helicopter traffic with fleets and flights rivaling that of New York. And while Uber tried to democratize the use of helicopters to get to the airport and other destinations at a cost as low as $63 a seat, Revo is marketing to the wealthiest.
Read More: Uber Lets You Hail a Helicopter in Brazil for $63
The Revo app is working on Apple Inc.’s iOS system as 90% of prospective clients use iPhones, Welsh said. More than 1,500 downloads have been made since the launch on Thursday and there’s a steady stream of bookings. The app will be available on Android in about four months, he said.
Clients can book the trips through the app, and the company will provide ground transportation to complete the door-to-door service using partners. Trips to other destinations such as rural estates, beaches and neighboring cities can be booked separately, Revo said in a statement.
The flights through Revo are operated by Omni Taxi Aereo, part of OHI, which has been in Brazil for 20 years. It has a fleet of 90 helicopters with some 1,500 flights a week, including for medical emergency services and offshore oil producers, according to the statement.
About $5 million was invested to build the platform, which uses artificial intelligence to determine peak demand based on traffic and other factors.
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